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Smart Year-End Money Moves


Before you turn your focus to next year, take the time to make these smart, year-end money moves:

Get Plenty of Sleep

December is a hectic month filled with shopping, parties and gift wrapping, but don't let that get in the way of your sleep. Countless studies have shown that we're much more likely to give into the temptation to overspend when we're worn down – and this is a month filled with spending temptations.

Bank Your Bonus

If you receive a holiday bonus, consider banking it, instead of blowing it on gifts. That extra cash would be a great boost to your retirement account or your emergency fund. Have debt? Use the money to get it paid off faster.

Use Up Your FSA

Still have money left in your flexible spending account? This is a use it or lose it situation, so now's the time to schedule those well visits, eye exams, dental treatments and anything else that you've been putting off. Here's a complete list of FSA-eligible expenses.

Short on time? If you require vision correction, consider ordering new glasses, prescription sunglasses or contact lenses.

Make the Most of Met Deductibles

Similar to the advice about FSAs, if you've met your health insurance deductible for the year, go ahead and schedule any tests or appointments that you need. Once the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, you'll be back to zero once again.

Double Check that All Bills have been Paid

The holidays are a crazy time, so it's easy to overlook things that you wouldn't normally. Go over your bill payment schedule to make sure you haven't forgotten to make any of your monthly payments.

Sell Off Your Clutter

Kicking off a new year by decluttering is great, but if you want maximum cash for your stuff, declutter at the end of the year, when holiday shoppers are willing to pay more for your second-hand stuff.

Find Ways to Minimize Your Tax Bill

Make a charitable donation; max out your tax-advantaged retirement accounts; squeeze in a qualifying home improvement project; fund a college savings account. Find ways to reduce your tax bill before we ring in a new year.

Request Your Free Credit Report

You're entitled to one free credit report a year. If you haven't requested yours yet, take a minute to do so. It's a great way to catch mistakes and track your credit health:

Calculate Your Net Worth

Get a quick snap shot of how you're doing financially by calculating your net worth. Do this at the end of every year to track your progress over time.

Organize Your Finances

Don't wait until tax time to put all of your financial documents in order. Do as much as you can now, while everything is still fresh in your mind:

Review Your Achivements

New Year's resolutions tend to address what's broken. Before you get into all of that, take some time to reflect on everything that you got right this year.
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